Loff in 1929
Janette Clarinda Lov
October 9, 1906
|Died||August 4, 1942 (aged 35)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Ammonia poisoning of undetermined origin|
Jeanette Loff (born Janette Clarinda Lov; October 9, 1906 – August 4, 1942) was an American actress and singer. Born to Danish and Norwegian immigrants, Loff was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest, and began singing professionally as a lyric soprano and performing as an organist while a teenager in Portland, Oregon.
In 1927, she was signed to a film contract by Cecil B. DeMille, and worked as a contract player for Pathé Exchange and later, Universal Pictures. She appeared in over twenty films during the course of her seven-year career. Loff formally retired from acting in 1934, with her last screen credit in Joseph Santley's Million Dollar Baby (1934). She died on August 4, 1942 from ammonia poisoning in Los Angeles at the age of 35. Though law enforcement was unable to determine whether her death was an accident or a suicide, Loff's family maintained that she had been murdered.
Loff was born Janette Clarinda Lov in Orofino, Idaho[a] to Marius (Maurice) and Inga Loff (née Loseth). Her family name was originally Lov and for a while she used the stage name "Jan Lov". She was the eldest of a family of five children. Her father was Danish and her mother was Norwegian. Her father was a professional violinist from Copenhagen. The family relocated to Wadena, Saskatchewan, Canada during her infancy, and later to Ottertail, Minnesota, where she lived with her younger sister, Irene.[b]
At the age of eleven, Loff played the title role in the play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. At sixteen she was a lyric soprano and had the leading role in an operetta, Treasure Hunters. Loff attended Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Idaho. When she was seventeen the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Loff continued her musical education at the Ellison-White Conservatory of Music. She played the organ at theaters in Portland under the name Jan Lov. She sometimes appeared singing theater prologues during vacations from school.
Loff's motion picture career began with an uncredited role in the silent film version of Uncle Tom's Cabin. She was signed to a contract by Cecil B. DeMille, and was soon cast as in ingénue roles in almost every instance. This enticed her to take a break from her movie career and perform on stage. In 1928, Loff was the first person to ride with Santa Claus down Hollywood Boulevard at the first Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles.
Her last screen role before she briefly retired was in the Paul Whiteman revue, King of Jazz (1930), Her performance as a vocalist in the film was praised by Mordaunt Hall in a New York Times review. which employed her soprano singing voice. She also had a lead role in Party Girl (1930) opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and received critical acclaim for her performance.
She remained under contract to Universal Pictures for some months but made no additional films for the studio. Her absence from the film industry was noted in a 1933 issue of Motion Picture Magazine, in addition to speculation about her personal life:
Jeanette Loff, who has been absent from Hollywood for some time, seems to have been able to make Gilbert Roland forget all the other girls he has been interested in since his break with Norma Talmadge, if you care to believe the idle tongues of the cinema city. Miss Loff is planning to go on tour with Buddy Rogers and his band on the West Coast and later hopes to return to the screen.
After, she relocated to New York City and appeared in musical plays and with orchestras before returning to films with a role as a country girl in Mating Time. Her final motion picture performances came in Hide-Out, Flirtation, and the Joseph Santley-directed Million Dollar Baby, all released in 1934.
Loff was married twice: Her first marriage was to jewelry salesman Harry K. Roseboom. They married on October 8, 1926 and were divorced in 1929 when she claimed he became jealous and violent while watching her onscreen. Later, in 1936 she wed Los Angeles businessman Bertram Eli Friedlob (1906-1956) to whom she remained married until her death.
On August 1, 1942, Loff ingested ammonia at the Beverly Hills home she shared with husband Friedlob on 9233 Doheny Road. The ammonia ingestion caused severe chemical burns to her throat and mouth. She died three days later of ammonia poisoning on August 4, 1942, in Los Angeles.
The New York Times reported she had ingested the ammonia "on the coast," and coroners were unable to determine whether she ingested ammonia either accidentally or intentionally. She had been suffering from a stomach ailment and may have accidentally taken the wrong bottle of medication. While her death could not be patently ruled either accident or suicide, her family maintained that she had been murdered. Loff is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.
|1927||Uncle Tom's Cabin||Auction Spectator||Uncredited|||
|1927||My Friend from India||Marion/Ruth Brooks|||
|1928||The Man Without a Face|||
|1928||Hold 'Em Yale||Helen||Alternative title: At Yale|||
|1928||The Black Ace|||
|1928||Annapolis||Betty||Alternative title: Branded a Coward|||
|1928||Love Over Night||Jeanette Stewart|||
|1929||The Forty-Five Caliber War||Ruth Walling||Alternative title: 45 Calibre War|||
|1929||The Sophomore||Barbara Lange||Alternative title: Compromised|||
|1929||The Racketeer||Millie Chapman||Alternative title: Love's Conquest|||
|1930||Party Girl||Ellen Powell||Alternative title: Dangerous Business|||
|1930||The Boudoir Diplomat||Greta|||
|1930||Fighting Thru; or, California in 1878||Alice Malden||Alternative title: Fightin' Ranch|||
|1930||King of Jazz||Vocalist||Performer of number "The Bridal Veil"|||
|1934||St. Louis Woman||Lou Morrison, the St. Louis Woman|||
|1934||A Duke for a Day|||
|1934||Benny, from Panama||Jeanette Foy|||
|1934||Flirtation||Also stars Ben Alexander and Arthur Tracy|||
|1934||Million Dollar Baby||Rita Ray|||
- Some sources, such as Scott Wilson's Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (2016) state Loff was born in "Cronno, Idaho"; however, no documentation of such a town or settlement exists. Loff states in a 1929 Photoplay profile that she was born in the city of Orofino, and 1929 International Motion Picture Almanac also lists her birthplace as Orofino. A 1936 article published in the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune also states Orofino as her birthplace, and describes it as a "little lumber center in Idaho." However, the Almanac's 1936 issue curiously lists "Cronno" as her birthplace.
- According to U.S. Census records from the 1910 United States Census, Jeanette Loff resided with her parents, Marius (age 30) and Inga (age 25), and her sister Irene (age 3) in Ottertail, Minnesota.
- Howe, Herbert (May 1929). "The All-Star Blonde". Photoplay: 37–8.
- International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company. 1929. p. 26.
- "Motion Picture". 40. Macfadden-Bartell. 1930: 115.
- International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company. 1936. p. 546.
- Carter, Charles (1930). "Yes, Yes, Jeanette!". Screenland: 66.
- "Jeanette Loff - Blonde Beauty". JeanetteLoff.com. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Coons, Robbin (December 6, 1933). "Hollywood Sights & Sounds". The Gettysburg Times. Pennsylvania, Gettysburg. p. 2. Retrieved April 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Jeanette Loff - Tragic Film Player". Bizarre Los Angeles: Photography and Forgotten History. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Gersdorf, Phil (1928). "Jeanette Loff: Tagged for Glory". Screenland: 34–5, 93.
- "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (accessed 13 July 2017), Jeanette C Loff in household of Marius Loff, Sverdrup, Otter Tail, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 178, sheet 4A, family 45, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 714; FHL microfilm 1,374,727.
- "Theater Organist Shines As Screen Beauty". Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. July 14, 1928. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com. (subscription required)
- "Jeanette Loff". Ancestry.com Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "Ellison-White Lyceum and Chautauqua Association". Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- "Jeanette Loff and Rod La Rocque in "Love Over Night" - At the Theaters". The Amarillo Globe-Times. Amarillo, Texas. October 31, 1928. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com. (subscription required)
- Marling, Karal Ann (2009). Merry Christmas! Celebrating America’s Greatest Holiday. Harvard University Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-674-04062-5.
- Hall, Mordaunt (May 3, 1930). "THE SCREEN; A Sparkling Extravaganza. "The Living Corpse."". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Barrios, Richard (1995). A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film. Oxford University Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-195-08811-3.
- Hall, Mordaunt (January 2, 1930). "THE SCREEN". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Motion Picture Magazine". 45. Macfadden-Bartell. 1933: 90.
- Fleming, E.J. (2008). Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the MGM Director and Husband of Harlow. McFarland. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-786-45274-3.
- Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. (2 volume set). McFarland. p. 451. ISBN 9781476625997.
- "MISS LOFF DIES OF POISON; Former Film Actress Swallowed Ammonia Saturday on Coast". The New York Times. August 6, 1942. p. 22.
- "Jeanette Loff - Blonde Beauty". JeanetteLoff.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 530.
- Rainey 1990, p. 156.
- Gevinson 1997, p. 1318.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 62.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 489.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 20.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 459.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 269.
- "The Sophomore". Films in Review. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 39: 189. 1988.
- "The Racketeer". International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company: 1226. 1936.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 79.
- American Film Institute 1997, p. 244.
- Gevinson 1997, p. 547.
- "Missouri Nightingale". The New Yorker. 38: 24. 1935.
- Filmography for Jeanette Loff. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
- "Jeanette Loff List of Movies". TV Guide. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "Million Dollar Baby". Motion Picture. Mcfadden-Bartell. 4: 18. 1934.
- American Film Institute (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films 1921–1930. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20969-5.
- Gevinson, Alan (1997). Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20964-0.
- Rainey, Bruce (1990). Those Fabulous Serial Heroines: Their Lives and Films. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-810-81911-5.
- Albert Lea Evening Tribune "Hollywood Sights and Sounds", January 9, 1934, Page 9.
- Los Angeles Times "Jeanette Loff", August 8, 1942, Page 7.
- The New York Times "Miss Loff Dies of Poison", August 6, 1942, Page 22.
- Dallas Morning News "Jeanette Loff, 35, former screen actress, died at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital", August 6, 1942
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